Apple Pay to end support for Russian banks sanctioned for war in Ukraine

Apple Pay and Google Pay will no longer be available to users of these banks’ debit and credit cards, according to the central bank, however contact and contactless payment will remain available throughout Russia.
Apple Pay to end support for Russian banks sanctioned for war in Ukraine
Apple Pay to end support for Russian banks sanctioned for war in Ukraine

On the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russians took out nearly $1.3 billion from banks, the highest amount since COVID-19 began.

Several Russian banks have been sanctioned as a result of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.

As a result, major payment services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay will no longer be supported.

The Bank of Russia announced on Friday that VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank, as well as other banks such as Sovcombank, Otkritie, Novikombank, and Promsvyazbank, are on the US sanctions list.

Customers will also be unable to use these cards to purchase goods and services from nations that support the sanctions, according to the statement.

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, is also among the sanctioned institutions, according to a second notice from the Bank of Russia on Friday.

Sberbank’s correspondent accounts are explicitly targeted by the penalties.

Apart from some Russian cards being prohibited from Apple Pay and Google Pay, some sanctioned Russian banks are also having difficulty with Apple Store and Google Store as a result of their role in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Apple apparently disabled mobile applications from the App Store by the sanctioned Promsvyazbank, with at least three apps being withdrawn.

Google is also said to have banned the bank’s main app from its store.

Russians have begun withdrawing money from their bank accounts in greater numbers, as some officials have warned that banks may seize retail balances if sanctions go too far.

On the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, users reportedly withdrew $1.3 billion (111.3 billion rubles) from Russian banks, the largest outflow since the COVID-19 outbreak began two years ago.

The big bank outflows appear to have persisted, as numerous consumers online reported on Friday that ATMs were running dry and that there were long lines to cash out.

While some onchain data suggests that Ukrainians have been increasingly migrating into crypto in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion, recent data on Russians’ crypto exposure dynamics may be tough to come by because the country lacks licensed exchanges that track trading volumes.

Binance, a major domestically operating exchange, declined to comment on the topic when contacted by Coinscreed.

Russia’s crypto trading volumes on major peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins have been declining for several months, according to statistics from crypto analytics source Coin Dance, decreasing nearly 100 percent between November and early February.

Apple Pay to end support for Russian banks sanctioned for war in Ukraine
Weekly LocalBitcoins volume. Source: Coin Dance